Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Janet Lynn & Will Zeilinger - Guest Authors

Today we welcome an author duo, Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger. Janet describes herself as keen, active, considerate, witty, and funny. Will chooses simple, analytical, creative, curious, and empathetic.

His writing is believable, witty, current, snappy, and emotive, while hers is quirky, edgy, clever, insightful, calculating. Sounds like an interesting combination, doesn't it? Let's find out which questions they chose and how they answered...

Describe your most productive writing venue. What makes it best for you?

Will - I like to write at my desk  in the office we built for our business. It’s comfortable with a view out the French doors and because it’s an office, I am reminded that writing is a business.
If I write somewhere else, I’m often distracted or I fall asleep (sofa, patio, coffee shop) A professional atmosphere works best for me.

Janet - Someone once said "Butt + Chair = Book. For me anywhere I have a light, pen. paper and a place to put my butt! Of course it all gets typed and edited on my desktop in my office with the French doors with a view of my lovely garden.  But the  bulk of my creative writing is anywhere I am.

What makes a great short story?

Will – For me a great short story grabs my attention,  gets to the point quickly and leads directly to a distinct endpoint.  I can tell if a story was written as a short story or is merely an excerpt from a larger work.

Janet - Any short story that holds my attention and leaves me wanting more or to write a sequel.

What is your most productive time of the day (and do you need caffeine?)

Will – (No caffeine needed) For me minimum two hours in the morning before breakfast.  OR evening before supper.

Janet - No caffeine for me either. I am most creative and productive between 6-8 am. basically before life begins. Late evenings never work. In between is jotting ideas for scenes, characters, sub plots, etc.

How many books do you read in a typical month? Do you read in your genre while you are writing? What’s your most recent “great” book?

Will – one, sometimes two books   I usually read something related to the genre I’m currently writing.  Most recent “great “ book? INFERNAL ANGELS by Loren D. Estleman

Janet -  I read 2-3 books a month mostly mysteries of any type. Just finished DARK SPIES by Matthew Dunn. IT was hard to put it down.

What motivates you to write?

Will – The best motivator is a story that’s stuck in my head and won’t go away until I write it down.  But I am also driven by the thought of crossing that finish line and holding the book in my hands or seeing my book/story online.

Janet - I don't need motivation so much. The story and characters make my head explode and my hands itch until I get it down on paper. Then I calm down until the next episode. Maybe I'm psychotic?

How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?

Will – Janet and I enjoy noir and hardboiled detective books and movies, and wanted to write one that was set in the 50’s.

Janet - For SLIVERS OF GLASS we had an idea and a sketchy plot. We took a few days off and went to a wedding in Santa Rosa. Our hotel was by an old, run down, fenced off round barn. Every time we drove past the barn we were intrigued. One afternoon we walked around the barn and slowly the sub plots came to us. While at the wedding we inquired about the history of the barn, the locals loved talking about it. Then the characters started to come in to play. It was great!

Name three writers from whom you have drawn inspiration and tell us why.

Will – For this book, Raymond Chandler, Dasheill Hammett, and Mickey Spillane because they set the standard for this genre.

Janet - Ditto, Love these writer's work

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received and why was it so valuable?

Will – For me it was:  Just write it. You can always fix it. You can’t fix a blank page. The other pearl was: When you have an idea, write it down – If you don’t, it may go away and never come back.

Janet - Write what you like to read. this made so much sense to me while I was studying the craft of writing. Also, You can't fix a blank page, Will and I must have been to the same meeting!
Southern California 1955: the summer Disneyland opened, but even “The Happiest Place on Earth” couldn’t hide the smell of dirty cops, corruption and murder.

The body of a woman thought to be killed three years earlier is found behind a theater in Hollywood.  Movie stuntman Skylar Drake, a former LAPD detective, is dragged into the investigation. He can make no sense of the crime until he discovers a dirty underworld and unearths deep-seated… greed.  
The hunt takes Drake to places he’d never expect.  He’s anxious to close this case and get back to his business in L.A., but he’s constantly haunted by the memory of his wife and young daughter, killed in a mysterious house fire.

With more than enough dirty cops, politicians and crime bosses to go around, Drake can trust no one including Martin Card, the cop assigned to work with him.  



  1. Thanks for the answers guys. I think the three of us maybe the only noncaffeine authors in North America!

    ~ Jim

  2. I'm not a noir fan, but California in 1955 would interest me. I love Walter Mosley's dipiction of LA in the 1950s and 60s. Good luck with the book!

  3. I like Will's advice about just write it. Once the mind gets flowing the words seem to come. It's a good reminder to sit down and get to work.

    1. Kristina -- I agree. there is nothing like butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard to actually accomplish first draft writing.

      ~ Jim